It’s a Wednesday evening. Like everyone else, you’re stuck at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve just finished dinner, and are searching for something uplifting to watch during these difficult times.
Why not try Worship Wednesday?
Worship Wednesday is a praise and worship session run live on Catholic Youth Parramatta’s public Facebook page every Wednesday from 8pm.
For the past three weeks, young artists of the Catholic Church in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains has led audiences on a 30-minute session with music, prayers and personal reflection live from their loungerooms.
“Worship Wednesday was one of the first things we thought of when the restrictions of COVID-19 kicked in,” James Camden, Director, Catholic Youth Parramatta, told Catholic Outlook.
“We asked ourselves how we could bring faith, joy and hope into people’s loungerooms.
“Worship Wednesday gave us an avenue to encourage praise and worship online, it’s an opportunity to produce something homegrown in this time where a lot of resources are more globalised, it’s a chance to raise up our local, faith-filled musicians who are the pillars of faith in their parish communities, who are giving their talents generously and to support the secular careers of these musicians, as they’ve lost income during these hard times.”
Worship Wednesday has featured sessions hosted by Damien Khoury, Alison Ryan and Anthony Silvestrini.
“Worship Wednesday is an awesome opportunity for us to stop in the middle of our week and be with each other, be present to ourselves, be present to the people at home, and an opportunity for us to sing some songs,” Damien announced at the beginning of the first Worship Wednesday on April 1.
“I think this is an awesome idea, and I invite you that every week when this happens, you can lean into what it’s about.”
As well as organising sessions by experienced music ministers, Catholic Youth Parramatta has opened the door to young music ministers learning how to turn their performances into prayer.
Over the next three weeks, young musicians Chris Watters from Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Kellyville, Alyssa Maree Gratil from Mary Immaculate Parish, Quakers Hill-Schofields and Clemens del Rosario from Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Rouse Hill, will be bringing their own music styles into their reflections.
“We’re trying to find a balance between a professional set up and keeping things authentic and truly grassroots. We’re not in a studio with professional lights and audio, but we are sitting in the rawness of our worship leader’s loungerooms, creating an experience of faith that can give us spiritual nourishment for the week,” James said.
“It is a reality that we are stuck at home, but Worship Wednesday highlights that we are all in this together.”
During her session in the middle of Holy Week, Alison shared her empathy with those in our community who are missing being able to celebrate Mass, due to the closure of churches because of the pandemic, and those who feel they are not part of the community.
“I’ve been thinking about people who are missing attending Mass every day or every week, that beautiful Eucharistic rhythm that we have in our church. And I want you to know that I know how that feels, so I want you to feel really welcome here. I want you to know that this is a place where you can come and pray, even when we can’t go to our churches,” Alison said.
“I’m also thinking about the people who were already on the fringes of community before all of this happened, and now feel even more isolated because of social distancing. I want you to know that I know how that feels too, and that you’re really welcome here to pray with us, to sing with us and to be part of a community, even though we’re apart.”
James explained, that what he loved most about Worship Wednesday is that it is “reaching people” who typically wouldn’t watch faith experiences online.
“So, I encourage people to take that leap of faith and consider sharing these sessions on their own Facebook pages, or organising watch parties with their secular network.
“Worship Wednesday provides us with a moment of evangelisation, and it’s amazing to see our young people taking the initiative to lead us in prayer and to keep us spiritually connected,” he said.
Alongside Worship Wednesday, Catholic Youth Parramatta has created ways of staying connected with the young people of the Diocese of Parramatta and beyond throughout the week.
- Motivational Monday – which provides a prayer, bible passage or quote for a religious figure for young people and youth groups to focus and explore throughout the week
- Team Tuesday – which allows youth ministers from the parish to catch up with one another and share their successes and concerns in these times.
- LIFTED Link on Thursdays – providing online prayer, formation and discussion for young people.
Audiences can view the Worship Wednesday sessions on Catholic Youth Parramatta’s public Facebook page, which doesn’t require a Facebook account to watch. Visit www.facebook.com/catholicyouthparra/
To keep up to date with Catholic Youth Parramatta’s digital offerings, visit their Facebook page.